Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities
Everyday objects such as a mirror, a pair of sneakers, a tombstone, a biscuit, a cup of tea, a cigarette or a sofa, all have something to say about the literary imagination during the cultural movement of "Modernism" that took place in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Writers such as Döblin, Joyce, Mann, Pirandello, Proust, Sarraute, Svevo, Woolf (and others) eagerly used everyday objects in their prose works, even if these objects seem to hold a secondary position and don't stand out right away from the text. Sometimes the descriptions of objects (and of the material world in general) are descriptive and seem realistic, sometimes they are rich in multiple meanings and brim with emotion and rêverie.
The zone "Modernist Materiality" offers a selection of the most odd and interesting objects in Literary Modernism, with a special focus on French and Italian prose works, and is led by two specialists of European Modernism at the University of Leiden. They invite us to look at the masterpieces of European Modernist through a different lens.